Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)

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Napoleon's abdication Bouchot - Napoleon signe son abdication a Fontainebleau 4 avril 1814.jpg
Napoleon's abdication

The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Fontainebleau, France, on 11 April 1814 between Napoleon I and representatives from the Austrian Empire, Russia and Prussia. The treaty was signed at Paris on 11 April by the plenipotentiaries of both sides and ratified by Napoleon on 13 April. [1] With this treaty, the allies ended Napoleon's rule as emperor of France and sent him into exile on Elba.

Fontainebleau Subprefecture and commune in Île-de-France, France

Fontainebleau is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located 55.5 kilometres (34.5 mi) south-southeast of the centre of Paris. Fontainebleau is a sub-prefecture of the Seine-et-Marne department, and it is the seat of the arrondissement of Fontainebleau. The commune has the largest land area in the Île-de-France region; it is the only one to cover a larger area than Paris itself.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Austrian Empire monarchy in Central Europe between 1804 and 1867

The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it partially overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806.

Contents

Prelude

In the War of the Sixth Coalition (1812–1814), a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and a number of German states drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813. In 1814, while the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal invaded France across the Pyrenees, the Russians, Austrians and their allies invaded France across the Rhine and, after the Battle of Paris, entered into negotiations with members of the French government for the abdication of Napoleon.

War of the Sixth Coalition Part of the Napoleonic Wars

In the War of the Sixth Coalition, sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

On 31 March, the Coalition issued a declaration to the French nation:

The allied powers having occupied Paris, they are ready to receive the declaration of the French nation. They declare, that if it was indispensable that the conditions of peace should contain stronger guarantees when it was necessary to enchain the ambition of Napoleon, they would become more favourable when, by a return to a wiser government, France itself offers the assurance of repose. The allied sovereigns declare, in consequence, that they will no longer treat with Napoleon nor with any of his family; that they respect the integrity of old France, as it existed under its legitimate kings—they may even go further, for they always profess the principle, that for the happiness of Europe it is necessary that France should be great and powerful; that they recognise and will guarantee such a constitution as the French nation may give itself. They invite, consequently, the senate to appoint a provisional government, which may provide for the necessities of administration, and establish such a constitution as may be fitting for the French people. The intentions which I have just expressed are common to me with all the allied powers. Alexander, Paris, 31st March 1814 : Three P.M. [2]

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first Russian King of "Congress" Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

On 1 April, Russian Emperor Alexander I addressed the French Sénat conservateur in person and laid out similar terms as were in the previous day's declaration. As a gesture of good will, he announced that 150,000 French prisoners of war who had been held by the Russians since the French invasion of Russia, two years earlier, would be released immediately. The next day, the Senate agreed to the Coalition's terms and passed a resolution deposing Napoleon. [3] They also passed a decree dated 5 April, justifying their actions, and ending:

The Sénat conservateur was an advisory body established in France during the Consulate following the French Revolution. It was established in 1799 under the Constitution of the Year VIII following the Napoleon Bonaparte-led Coup of 18 Brumaire. It lasted until 1814 when Napoleon Bonaparte was overthrown and the Bourbon monarchy was restored. The Sénat was a key element in Napoleon's regime.

French invasion of Russia Napoleon Bonapartes attempted conquest of the Russian Empire

The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia. Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions.

...the senate declares and decrees as follows :—1. Napoleon Buonaparte is cast down from the throne, and the right of succession in his family is abolished. 2. The French people and army are absolved from their oath of fidelity to him. 3. The present decree shall be transmitted to the departments and armies, and proclaimed immediately in all the quarters of the capital. [4]

On 3 April 1814, word reached Napoleon, who was at the Palace of Fontainebleau, that the French Senate had dethroned him. As the Coalition forces had made public their position that their quarrel was with Napoleon and not the French people, he called their bluff and abdicated in favour of his son, with the Empress Marie-Louise as regent.

Palace of Fontainebleau castle in Fontainebleau, France

The Palace of Fontainebleau or Château de Fontainebleau, located 55 kilometres southeast of the center of Paris, in the commune of Fontainebleau, is one of the largest French royal châteaux. The medieval castle and subsequent palace served as a residence for the French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. Francis I and Napoleon were the monarchs who had the most influence on the Palace as it stands today.. It is now a national museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma Empress of France

Marie Louise was an Austrian archduchess who reigned as Duchess of Parma from 1814 until her death. She was Napoleon's second wife and, as such, Empress of the French from 1810 to 1814.

Three plenipotentiaries took this conditional abdication to the Coalition sovereigns:

The allied powers having proclaimed that the Emperor Napoleon is the sole obstacle to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, – the Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he is ready to descend from the throne, to quit France, and even life itself, for the good of the country, which is inseparable from the rights of his son, of the regency of the Empress, and of the maintenance of the laws of the empire.

Napoleon: Fontainebleau, 4 April 1814 [5]

While the plenipotentiaries were travelling to deliver their message, Napoleon heard that Auguste Marmont had placed his corps in a hopeless position and that their surrender was inevitable. The Coalition sovereigns were in no mood to compromise and rejected Napoleon's offer. Emperor Alexander stated:

A regency with the Empress and her son, sounds well, I admit; but Napoleon remains – there is the difficulty. In vain will he promise to remain quiet in the retreat which will be assigned to him. You know even better than I his devouring activity, his ambition. Some fine morning he will put himself at the head of the regency, or in its place: then the war will recommence, and all Europe will be on fire. The very dread of such an occurrence will oblige the Allies to keep their armies on foot, and thus frustrate all their intentions in making peace. [6]

With the rejection of his conditional abdication and no military option left to him, Napoleon bowed to the inevitable:

The allied powers having declared that the Emperor Napoleon is the sole obstacle to the re-establishment of a general peace in Europe, the Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he renounces, for himself and his heirs the throne of France and Italy; and that there is no personal sacrifice, not even that of life itself, which he is not willing to make for the interests of France.

Napoleon: Fontainebleau, 6 April 1814 [7]

Over the next few days, with Napoleon's reign over France now at an end, the formal treaty was negotiated and signed by the plenipotentiaries in Paris on 11 April and ratified by Napoleon on 13 April.

Terms

Room at the Fontainebleau where the Treaty was signed Gueridon fontainebleau.JPG
Room at the Fontainebleau where the Treaty was signed

The agreement contained a total of 21 articles. Based on the most significant terms of the accord, Napoleon was stripped of his powers as ruler of the French Empire, but both Napoleon and Marie-Louise were permitted to preserve their respective titles as emperor and empress. [8] Moreover, all of Napoleon's successors and family members were prohibited from attaining power in France. [9]

The treaty also established the island of Elba as a separate principality to be ruled by Napoleon. [10] Elba's sovereignty and flag were guaranteed recognition by foreign powers in the accord, but only France was allowed to assimilate the island. [11]

In another tenet of the agreement, the Duchy of Parma, the Duchy of Placentia and the Duchy of Guastalla were ceded to Empress Marie-Louise. Moreover, a direct male descendant of Empress Marie-Louise would be known as the Prince of Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla. [12] In other parts of the treaty, Empress Josephine's annual income was reduced to 1,000,000 francs [13] and Napoleon had to surrender all of his estates in France to the French crown, [14] and submit all crown jewels to France. [15] He was permitted to take with him 400 men to serve as his personal guard. [16]

The signatories were Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza, Marshal MacDonald, Duke of Tarentum, Marshal Ney, Duke of Elchingen, Prince Metternich, Count Nesselrode, and Baron Hardenberg. [17]

British opposition

"The Rise and Fall of Napoleon", a cartoon drawn by Johann Michael Voltz following the Treaty of Fontainebleau; on the lower side is seen the map of Elba. Aufstieg-und-Niederfall-Napoleons.png
"The Rise and Fall of Napoleon", a cartoon drawn by Johann Michael Voltz following the Treaty of Fontainebleau; on the lower side is seen the map of Elba.

The British position was that the French nation was in a state of rebellion and that Napoleon was a usurper. Castlereagh explained that he would not sign on behalf of the king of the United Kingdom because to do so would recognise the legitimacy of Napoleon as emperor of the French and that to exile him to an island over which he had sovereignty, only a short distance from France and Italy, both of which had strong Jacobin factions, could easily lead to further conflict. [18]

Theft of document

In 2005, two Americans, former history professor John William Rooney (74) and Marshall Lawrence Pierce (44), were charged by a French court for stealing a copy of the Treaty of Fontainebleau from the French National Archives between 1974 and 1988. The theft came to light in 1996, when a curator of the French National Archives discovered that Pierce had put the document up for sale at Sotheby's. Rooney and Pierce pleaded guilty in the United States and were fined ($1,000 for Rooney and $10,000 for Pierce). However, they were not extradited to France to stand trial there. The copy of the treaty, along with a number of other documents (including letters from King Louis XVIII of France) that were checked out from the French National Archives by Rooney and Pierce, were returned to France by the United States in 2002. [19] [20]

See also

Notes

  1. Napoleon and the Marshals of the Empire, J. B. Lippincott of Philadelphia, 1855. p. 284
  2. Alison. p. 185
  3. Alison. pp. 187–188
  4. Alison p. 190
  5. Alison. 197
  6. Alison. p. 199
  7. Alison. 205
  8. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 202. (Article II) Their Majesties the Emperor Napoleon and the Empress Marie-Louise, will preserve their titles and qualities to enjoy them during their lives. The mother, brothers, sisters nephews and nieces of the Emperor shall equally preserve, wherever they may be sojourning, the titles of princes of his family.
  9. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 202. (Article I) His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon renounces, for himself, his successors and descendants as well as for each of the members of his family, all right of sovereignty and domination, as well as over the French Empire and the kingdom of Italy as over all other countries.
  10. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 203. (Article III) The island of Elba, adopted by his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon, for the place of his residence, shall form, during his life, a separate principality, which shall be possessed by him in all sovereignty and property.
  11. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 203. (Article IV) All the allied powers engage themselves to employ their good offices cause to be respected, by the Barbary powers, the flag and territory of the island of Elba, so that in its relations with the Barbary powers it should be assimilated to France.
  12. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 203. (Article V) The Duchies of Parma, of Placentia, and of Guastalla shall be given, in all property and sovereignty, to her Majesty the Empress Marie-Louise. They shall pass to her son and to his descendants in direct line. The prince her son shall take, from this time, the title of Prince of Parma, of Placentia, and of Guastalla.
  13. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 204. (Article VII) The annual income of the Empress Josephine shall be reduced to 1,000,000f., in domains, or in inscriptions on the grand livre of France. She shall continue to enjoy, in full property, all her estates real and personal, and may dispose of them in conformity with the laws of France.
  14. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 204. (Article IX) The estates which his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon possesses in France, whether of extraordinary or private domain, shall revert to the crown. Of the sums funded by the Emperor Napoleon, whether in the grand livre, or in the Bank of France, whether in canal shares, or in any other manner, and which his Majesty gives up to the crown, there shall be reserved a capital which shall not exceed 2,000,000f., to be disposed of in gratuities in favour of persons who shall be inscribed in the list that shall be signed by the Emperor Napoleon, and which shall be remitted to the French government. – "Bonaparte offered the pope a pension of two millions of francs, being the precise sum he himself was thus obliged to accept!" (de Bourrienne p. 362
  15. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 204. (Article X) All the crown jewels shall revert to France.
  16. Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 206. (Article XVII) His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon can take with him, and keep for his guard, 400 men, volunteers, officers, subofficers, and soldiers.
  17. Alphonse de Lamartine, pp. 206–207. (Article XXI). The present treaty shall be ratified, and the ratifications of it shall be exchanged at Paris in the term of two days, or sooner, if possible. Done at Paris, the 11th April, 1814 (Signed) CAULAINCOURT, Duke of Vicenza. The Marshal Duke of Tarentum, MACDONALD. The Marshal Duke of Elchingen, NEY (Signed) The Prince of METTERNICH. The same articles have been signed separately, and under the same date, on the part of Russia, by the Count of Nesselrode, and on the part of Prussia, by the Baron of Hardenburg.
  18. John Abbott The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Kessinger Publishing, 2005, ISBN   1-4179-7063-4, ISBN   978-1-4179-7063-6 p. 481
  19. Paris to try US citizens 24 November 2005 Archived 14 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  20. JS Online: Former professor may be doomed to repeat history: Man was already convicted in U.S. for taking historic treaty, now France wants to try him too (Author: Megan Twohey; Date: 18 January 2006)

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References